Four Ways to Squat
1. BACK SQUAT
Benefits: Done correctly, this move will build sheer strength in your glutes, hamstrings and core.
Start with a barbell supported on the fleshy part of your upper back across your shoulders (the trapezius muscles). Hold the barbell in both hands, keeping your torso upright and head facing forwards (A).
Ensure your feet are hip-width apart and turned out slightly.
Engage your abs and keep the weight over your heels.
Bend your knees to squat down, keeping your knees in line with your feet and not letting them extend beyond your toes. Don’t let your back round (B).
When you’ve lowered to a depth that still allows you to keep a straight back, straighten your legs by pushing through your heels.
Squat back down to repeat the movement.
2. JUMP SQUAT
Benefits: This builds lower-body strength and develops explosive power. It’s a great move for power athletes such as sprinters or jumpers.
Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms down by your sides.
Drop down into a squat by bending your knees and pressing through your heels. Keep your chest up and shift your hips back to lower as far as possible, with your hands on your waist (A).
Lift as high as possible onto the balls of your feet, then push off from the ground to propel yourself into the air as high as you can (B). You can also try swinging both arms back then forward for extra momentum.
When you land, immediately bend your knees back into the squat position.
3. SPLIT SQUAT
Benefits: This is great for building single-leg strength and developing muscular balance.
Stand with one leg in front of you; the other behind you in a position that allows you to keep your front foot on the ground. Both feet should be pointing forwards (A).
Squat down as far as you can (keeping your front foot flat on the floor and tension in your body) by bending your front knee and letting your back knee bend with it (similar to a lunge but both feet stay fixed). Your back heel will come off the floor.
Pause when your front thigh is parallel and the shin is perpendicular to the floor. Don’t let your front knee extend beyond your toes (B).
Push through your feet to rise up to standing; repeat. Do all your reps on one side, then switch the leg positions around and repeat.
4. GOBLET SQUAT
Benefits: Great for newbies, this move forces you to learn proper technique, so you’ll get maximum benefit out of every squat.
Stand with your feet hip-width or slightly further apart and hold a kettlebell by the horns. Bring the kettlebell close to your chest with elbows pointing towards the floor (A).
Bend your knees and shift your hips back to squat down until your elbows are near your knees. Squat as low as you can while keeping a straight back. Keep your chest lifted (B).
Pause at the bottom of the movement. Squeeze your glutes and push through your heels to stand back up. Lower back into the squat and repeat the sequence.
More on Squats:
- Squat to Improve Your Fitness
- 4 Tips to a Better Squat
- Beginners Guide to the Squat
- A Deeper Look at The Squat
- Are Squats Bad for My Knees?